The Collective Tarot: Let your seed take root

The Ace of Pentacles made its appearance for us this week — visually we see a seed at the center of things. Plant it and let it take root in the fertile ground. It’s the very very inkling of a prosperous time in the future. Ground yourself now into that potential at the center of everything, so that you can fly when the time is ripe. Go outside and weave some magic into something bigger.

As always, thanks to the Wild Unknown for the tarot inspiration – this deck available in all our lil’ Namaste shops.

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What does it mean to Embrace Your Shadow?

by Sariah Jiwan Shakti 

Kundalini Yoga is an ancient yogic technology that helps us heal, strengthen, and cleanse our body as well as balance our mind and our Ego. It brings together all of the different branches of yoga into one practice that will quickly and powerfully transform your life. The thing about high speed transformation is that it can often feel uncomfortable and messy. As we heal our nervous system from past trauma, the residual emotions come up so they can be cleared. Sounds fun, right? Navigating this kind of mass clearing might feel daunting and even a little scary. Fun isn’t quite the thing that comes to mind! However, on the other side of that is freedom, clarity, more creativity and joy and those things may seem a bit more attractive, and yes, can lead to fun!

I’m excited to speak about these things because I’ve been there and personally experienced the messiness, freedom, and joy in transformation. But it definitely wasn’t always easy. When I was going through my Kundalini Yoga teacher training I experienced a lot of irrational anger. All of my suppressed childhood anger was coming to the surface with a vengeance my target became my teacher. I wrapped up all of that angst and frustration, stuffed it into a ball and lobbed it right at his Ego. It was perfect. One day I flat out told him that I didn’t like him. As I waited with my foot in my mouth for him to ultimately dislike me back, he said, “Sariah, where there is a bright light, there is a dark shadow.” This comment has always stuck with me and I’ve often shared it with friends and students when they are grappling with their shadow self. It helped me realize that in him was darkness and light as well as myself. I also realized that my suppressed shadow was projecting judgements onto my teacher as away to find some relief. Classic stuff.

As humans we have strong polarities or opposite forces within us with the most obvious being left and right hemispheres of the brain, masculine and feminine, and positive and negative charges. We have acidic and alkaline qualities within us, we experience hot and cold, high energy and low energy, we are awake and then we are asleep, and I could go on. Often times we equate our dark side or shadow self to the negative and the light side to the positive. Our brains often go to this place of negative = bad and positive = good. However, I want to invite you to take on a different perspective as you read through this. Because all of the polarities within us make up our whole self and allow us to function and on this earth plane, let’s allow both dark and light, positive and negative to be a perfect part of who we are, not good or bad, just part of our Is-ness. That being said, why does our shadow self often seem so intense, negative, and something that we want to push away, or has consumed such a large part of who we are, there is no room for the light?

Let’s explore what the shadow really is according to Carl Jung. Jungian psychology teaches us that the shadow aspect of who we are refers to an unconscious aspect of the personality that the conscious ego does not identify in itself. It’s the least desirable parts of ourself and so our conscious mind tends to push those away and make them largely negative storing them away in the subconscious. Jung says, “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”Sariah Jiwan Shakti

So the more we push away this often labeled negative part of ourselves and do not give space for it to express in our conscious life in healthy constructive ways, the more destructive it can become taking up so much space there is not much room for the light to get in. This may manifest as chronic depression, addiction, angry rages, or deep internalized anger that contorts the personality. Ultimately, in it’s most extreme form, if this shadow is not expressed, someone may cause harm themselves or others.

When the shadow aspect of ourselves is causing us to self destruct, we become cut off from our connection to spirit, GOD, soul, and our pure creative playful nature – The Light. The good news is that humans are inherently heliotropic which means we are constantly reorienting towards the light. Even in our darkest times with enough digging we can find an ember within us that if stoked will turn into a bright fire. Why? Because one cannot exist without the other. Dark cannot exist without the light and vice versa. So where there is darkness there will always be light.

How can we embrace our shadow, love it, and transmute it into light? What does a healthy relationship with our shadow self even look like? How can we start to cultivate a loving relationship the perceived negative parts of ourselves so we can become more balanced, have more room for our light, and ultimately shine bright, be big, and connected to our soul’s creativity?

1. Practice Allowing All to BE

When you notice that you are experiencing some uncomfortable emotions, thoughts, images, or sensations in the body, give yourself some space experience this energy. Breathe deep into your body, allow it all to be with you instead of labeling your experience as wrong or bad. Recognize that these darker emotions are here to give you information about what you need to improve your experience. As you allow all to be with you, remain open and notice if new, more constructive thoughts, impulses, and ideas come to you. Notice if your body begins to relax and release. Remain open without attachment to the outcome.

2. Play with Your Shadow

Are there some safe, fun, and inspiring ways for you to express and play with your shadow? Perhaps there is a loud, aggressive rock band you want to go and dance to. Maybe a costume or outfit you want to rock at a party that expresses your shadow self. Maybe you go out to a secluded place in the woods and throw rocks and scream obscenities and all of your dark thoughts to release them and ground them in the earth? Creating art and music is a great way to express your shadow self, channel this aspect of your subconscious self into something dark, beautiful, and inspiring for others. Find a friend, teacher, or coach to help you work more constructively with this energy.

3. Practice Yoga, Meditation and Prayer

Yoga and meditation are the fast train to getting into your subconscious mind, clearing out the old, and changing old pattern behavior that does not serve your highest good and your light-being self. Prayer is a way to connect with the God consciousness within you that trumps all darkness and will instantly bring the light. Surrender the destruction of the shadow to God and your Higher Self. Prayer also provides the energetic support you need to pull yourself out of a funk. Yoga will strengthen your nervous system and when you have a strong nervous system, it is easier to take a pause, a breath and be with the shadow so you can metabolize the bad feeling emotions.

4. Celebrate and Shine Your Light

When you notice that your dark energy has shifted to more lightness, celebrate this! A great way to recognize this is if you notice your system has gone from feeling tight to feeling big and expansive. Make it a point to smile at others and say nice things. Share your experience, your grace, and the brightness that is within you. Know that all good things, dreams, goals, and visions come from within you. External circumstances do not get to dictate how you feel. Allow your inner light to shine outward and create all of the good things in the world your unique self is here to create!

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Kimberly Leo on the NEW Namaste Rockridge

Our fearless leader, Kimberly Leo, talked with local blog 24East about the opening of our expanded Namaste Rockridge studio. We wanted to share a bit of the interview here before it is published. Take a peek into the inner workings of how Namaste has evolved and where we are headed.

1. What is Namaste’s approach to yoga?

Yoga was my sanctuary and it got me through a really difficult period in my life. Namaste was a way for me to give back to the community where I grew up. I wanted to create an urban refuge in which I could share this gift with others. From the beginning my intention was to create a space that was inclusive and accessible.

Over the last thirteen years Namaste has evolved but at our core we continue to approach yoga as a powerful tool for transformation. Among many things, I believe yoga can provide the mind body connection that is severely needed in today’s fast paced world; and as I witness on a daily basis, results in people going out into the world with a bit more understanding, kindness and compassion. I believe that if more people did yoga, the world would be a better place.

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2. Could you explain the differences of the various classes?

Our mission is to serve the East Bay community, We do this with over 150 classes at three locations, and a diverse teaching faculty of more than 50 teachers. We don’t prescribe to any one style of yoga. We have classes ranging from Gentle, Therapeutics Yoga to the more rigorous Power Flow classes.

I am particularly excited about the more specific workshops that serve the changing needs of our society — such as Yoga for Anxiety, Yoga for Healthy Aging, and meditation and Mindfulness offerings. It is extremely gratifying to bring yoga to the complete beginner as well as serve the more experienced practitioner who is interested in diving deeper into our programs.

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3. What is your advice on how we can begin and develop our own yoga practice?

Do not set goals that are unobtainable or discouraging. Make a commitment to your health and wellness by committing to just one class per week!

I find it best to sample a few classes and a few different teachers. The first class or teacher may not be the right one for you. You need to find a teacher that will motivate you and excite you enough to bring you back every week!

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4. For a lot of us, it is difficult to carve out 1.5 hours for a yoga class, plus studio travel time. What do you offer for those who can’t devote so much time?

I am at the yoga studio daily and still find it difficult toget to a class! I’m a single mother and independent business owner.At the end of the day, I am tired and want to go home. However, if I don’t put my self care first, all other things – including how I treat loved ones and parent my son — will suffer. Commit to your health and wellness by committing to coming to one class per week. If you can’t make it to class once a week, take what you learn from class and practice at home — even if it’s 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to bed.

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5. Namaste has built an incredible yoga community in the East Bay. How have you done that?

I have been blessed with an incredible tribe of teachers, staff, and students. I think when people work with us, they recognize our commitment to consistency, integrity and community. Because of this fact, we have been able to attract the best teachers in the East Bay. Our front desk staff is phenomenal. They are passionate about bringing yoga to people. The industry has changed dramatically over the last decade and I believe people resonate with us because we truly put our heart and soul into the studio. There is a lot of love and mutual respect around here and I hope it shows.

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6. What upcoming plans do you have for Namaste?

It was never my intention to grow to three studios. We have responded to the demand for our services, and will continue to grow organically, as needed. The studio in Rockridge just finished construction and we’re thrilled to be expanding into the space next to us. We have built a new studio room, and we’ll have more space and more classes beginning this month.

Our yoga program is bigger than ever, and we continue to grow our trainings and immersions programs. This year we are launching our new 300 Hour Professional Teacher Training continuing our mission to help create and support the Bay Area teaching community. I am so proud of where we are and thrilled about the vision our team continues to manifest.

7. What does success look like for Namaste?

Getting more people to do yoga and watching them leave class with a clear mind and kind heart that goes out into the world and touches another.
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8. What are some of your post yoga East Bay places to enjoy?

I am a proud Oakland native and my family has been in Oakland for multiple generations since the late 1800’s. I am excited for Oakland and all that is has to offer.
Lake Merritt is a gem and good people watching, and the Lake Merritt farmer’s market is a diverse mecca of all the beautiful people and colors that make up Oakland.
My son and I love to hike up in the Oakland Hills, and the $2.50 Tilden Train ride is one of the best deals around!


Celebrate our NEW Rockridge Studio this month with all NEW Classes only $10.

Learn more. 

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Liberate the Neck and Shoulders

by Poh Teng

Do you have achy neck and shoulders from too much driving?  Me too! Try these easy-to-do yoga postures to create some space in the neck and shoulders and relieve neck and shoulder pain.  I commute four times a week from Oakland to San Jose and these postures are a part of my self-care routine.  Try holding each posture for 5-8 deep breaths.  Remember to practice on both sides of the body.

Neck and Shoulders Yoga with Poh Teng

 

 

1203_nourishyourheart-social-400Don’t miss Poh’s next workshop:

Nourish your Heart with Reba Gray and Poh Teng

Sat Date: Dec 03, 2016 From: 1:00 PM4:00 PM Location: Rockridge

 

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